I hope it’s clear by now that I’m an avid animal lover. I often spend my days scrolling through Instagram checking out adoptable pets, or researching different rescue and advocacy groups. So a little over six years ago I came across a rescue – what was then Beagle Freedom Project,and is now Rescue + Freedom Project. That day, I learned about the (vile) laboratory experiments conducted on animals – on dogs, cats, rabbits, goats and more. That day, I learned that beagles are the dog breed of choice for lab experiments because of how docile, sweet and forgiving they are.
And that day, was the day I decided to only buy cruelty-free products.
I walked into my bathroom and threw away anything that was tested on animals. If I was going cruelty-free, it was going to start now! …I then realized that every single one of my products was, obviously, in the garbage. I didn’t even have a toothbrush or toothpaste to use. So, I took a very expensive shopping trip. Looking back now, that shopping trip wasn’t my best one because I was so new to cruelty-free products. I didn’t know what products to look for or what the labels meant. I assumed if I saw some sort of bunny logo then it wasn’t tested on animals.
To help make your switch to cruelty-free a little smoother than mine, here are five tips and tricks to keep in mind. While I’m not an expert, I hope my experience will help encourage you and make your journey an easy one!
Take Your Time
As mentioned above, I did not take my time when switching to cruelty-free products. Rather than immediately tossing everything in your garbage can, use up what you have first. Use that time wisely, researching what you’ll replace each product with.
Maybe you have a favorite hair conditioner and are worried about finding a cruelty-free alternative. While finishing your bottle, check out some cruelty-free dupes or get some trial sizes of cruelty-free conditioners. Then, when your tested-on-animals bottle is empty, throw it away (forever!) and buy the cruelty-free conditioner that will work best for you.
Find What Works For You
But how do you know what works best for you? It’ll likely take some trial-and-error. So while you’re taking your time (step one), test out different products and scents to find something you love.
One of my favorite stores for cruelty-free finds is Lush. One of the many reasons I love Lush is because they are great about offering samples. Ask if they have a sample of that facial cleanser you’re dying to try. They may also have smaller sizes of a product for you to try out before investing in the larger size. The staff is great about giving recommendations as well so if you don’t know where to start, just ask someone! Another great place for cruelty-free finds is Credo Beauty. When you checkout, you can select a couple free samples to add to your order.
The reason I recommend doing some trial-and-error is because not every cruelty-free product will work for you. One of the hardest products for me to replace was my deodorant. Many cruelty-free alternatives I tried were too harsh for my skin and caused a rash or itchy pits (which is not fun!). After trying out 5-7 different brands, I found one that smells good, keeps me smelling good and doesn’t irritate my skin.
Read The Label & Ask Questions
Just because a label says “not tested on animals” or has a bunny logo on it, doesn’t mean it is cruelty-free. So, what should you be looking for and how can you know for sure that you’re purchasing a cruelty-free product? The truth is, there’s a lot of research and “fact-checking” that must be done to know you are purchasing a truly cruelty-free product.
Put plainly, for a product to be cruelty-free, the final product and its ingredients are not tested on animals. I’ve seen many labels that say something like “This product is not tested on animals.” What that can actually mean, however, is the individual ingredients are. It’s this fine print that you must be aware of. If you aren’t sure, ask! Ask a store employee, email the company or even “ask Google” – a simple search can help you gather information. However, be aware that some employees may not know the answer or the company may give an indirect answer where you still have to “read between the lines.”
I’ve also learned that there are fake bunny logos out there. Here’s a resource that will help you spot the fake logos – and on that note, to help you ask the right questions and confirm if a product is cruelty-free, my next tip is:
Use Available Resources
There are so many websites, blogs and apps that will help you on your cruelty-free journey – boy did they help me!
Here are a few of my go-to’s, if I need a cruelty-free product recommendation or aren’t sure if a product and its ingredients are tested on animals:
- Rescue + Freedom Project’s Cruelty Cutter app. I love this app because all you have to do is scan a product and it’ll tell you its cruelty-free status. And it has a “Bite-Back” feature with a product photo and pre-written post that you can share on social.
- Leaping Bunny’s Cruelty-Free app. Another app option, where you can scan a product, find deals, create a list of products you love and share your experience.
- One-stop-shop websites and blogs for cruelty-free recommendations and guides:
…and many more!
Share Your Experience
Just like I’m doing now! If someone is curious about going cruelty-free, recommend resources and steps. Share your cruelty-free finds on social media, with your friends, with your family – with anyone who will listen! Spreading the word about animal testing and cruelty-free products will get us one step closer to ending animal testing all together.
You can start now by sharing your experience below! Leave a comment with your favorite product or what steps you’d recommend to someone who is going cruelty-free. Each month, I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite cruelty-free finds so be on the lookout for the first post soon!